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Centre for Global Child Health

Capacity Building in Africa

Around the world, nurses comprise the largest portion of the health workforce. Nurses are critical to ensuring access to health-care services, and ultimately improving health outcomes for children and their families. Current projects:

SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership (PNEP)

Since 2010, SickKids has been working with health systems partners in Ghana to develop specialized paediatric nursing education.  This education enables registered general nurses working in clinical areas to expand their paediatric knowledge and skills and their leadership abilities through a one-year training program. The Government of Ghana has set a goal of training and retaining 1,500 paediatric nurses by 2025.

Building on the success of the SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Training Program (2010-2014), SickKids partnered with the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives, the Ghana Ministry of Health, and Ghana Health Services to expand the paediatric nursing education program across Ghana and implement continuing education courses for a variety of health professionals.  

To enable the implementation of PNEP, partners welcomed funding from the Government of Canada and SickKids Foundation to scale up paediatric nursing education nationally in Ghana. The SickKids Centre for Global Child Health was granted $9,465,000 CAD from Global Affairs Canada with an additional $3,450,000 CAD to be raised by SickKids Foundation to scale up the program from 2015-2020.

Our partners and stakeholders include:

  • Ministry of Health, Ghana
  • Ghana Health Service
  • Ghana College of Nurses & Midwives

Expected Impact:

  • Train an additional 500 paediatric nurses by expanding the program to three sites (Accra, Kumasi & Tamale) to contribute to the Ghanaian led vision of training 1,500 nurses
  • Train 1,000 health workers through continuing education courses
  • Develop and integrate 25 clinical nurse educators to become program faculty
  • Establish a standardized paediatric nursing curriculum to achieve scale
  • Develop capacity, infrastructure and human capital to ensure sustainability

Read the PNEP Quarterly Newsletter:

Volume 1:

Issue 1: May 2016

Issue 2: September 2016

Issue 3: January 2017

Issue 4: May 2017

Volume 2:

Issue 1: September 2017

Issue 2: March 2018

Issue 3: August 2018

Issue 4: January 2019

Volume 3:

Issue 1: June 2019

SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership expands education program to Tamale and Kumasi, Ghana.

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In-Service Nutrition Training in East Africa

Frontline workers (health facility and community health workers) play a critical role in identifying and addressing nutrition-related health issues. In both clinical nutrition practice and public health, the need for health practitioners to perform effectively, efficiently and sustainably to achieve positive nutrition-related health outcomes requires access to educational resources that are both comprehensive and practical.

In response to the identified gaps in nutrition training in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the Centre for Global Child Health, with its broad nutrition expertise and experience in developing the first online open access course in public health nutrition, is partnering with academic centres in LMICs to develop comprehensive in-service nutrition training packages for frontline workers.

Building on the SickKids Public Health Nutrition Course curriculum, the training will combine theory and practicum-based learning focused on applied nutrition and skills development. The curriculum will also ensure that frontline workers are equipped with adequate knowledge to meet the relevant nutritional needs of the populations they are serving. 

The Centre for Global Child Health is collaborating with the East, Central and South African Health Community (ECSA) to deliver nutrition training to frontline workers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Expected Impact:


  • Achieve a clear understanding of the needs and expectations of the three countries in nutrition capacity development of health facility and community workers
  • Develop an evidence-based training package applying contextually relevant teaching methodologies focusing on tactical skill development
  • Lead train-the-trainer piloting sessions of the package in a centralized location in order to gain feedback for revisions
  • Develop a dissemination plan for roll-out, continuity and sustainability of the training including recommendations for performance measures
  • Engage stakeholders and regional experts to ensure the nutrition training package is informed and sustainable

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Specialized Newborn Care Education (SNCE)

The Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM) is a program implemented by a consortium of Canadian organizations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania over a four-year period from March 2016 to March 2020. The program aims to contribute towards reduced maternal, neonatal and child mortality in 20 districts across the four countries through an integrated approach that aligns with Global Affairs Canada’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) strategy for strengthening health systems, reducing the burden of diseases, improving nutrition and ensuring accountability for results. The Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada is providing funding of $24.9 million for the project.

SickKids Centre for Global Child Health has a dual role on the project, as technical partner in the design and implementation of the monitoring and evaluation, and as a capacity building partner, developing and delivering a specialized newborn care education training module in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania.

Our partners include:

  • Amref Health Africa in Canada (CAIA-MNCM lead)
  • Christian Children’s Fund of Canada
  • WaterAid Canada

Expected Impact:

  • 135 nurses, midwives, doctors, clinical officers and other health workers trained in specialized newborn care through nine rounds of short courses.


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Peer Learning Platform for Health Workers to Improve Child Nutrition in Rwanda

In response to the identified gap in availability of globally-accessible capacity building tools for nutrition practitioners working in remote locations in low-middle income countries, the Centre for Global Child Health is partnering with the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) to develop an online, Peer Learning Platform (PLP) that can be accessible on mobile devices.

Under the umbrella of ADRA’s EMBRACE project, the Centre will take on a consultant role and provide content expertise for the PLP while leveraging the assets from the SickKids Online Public Health Nutrition Course, as well as the In-Service Nutrition Training curriculum developed for the East, Central and South Africa Health Community. The Centre will assist in adapting these assets to the Rwandan context and ensuring the PLP is interactive and user-friendly.

The PLP is being developed for use in the Nyabihu district of Rwanda by formally trained health facility-based workers

Our partners include:

  • Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA)
  • Chalkboard Education

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Newborn Screening Program for Sickle Cell Disease in Ghana

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common genetic diseases worldwide. Although seen around the world, the heaviest burden of the disease occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, about one in every 50 children is born with SCD, and more than half die before the age of five. These deaths can be avoided through simple, cost-effect interventions such as newborn screening, parental education and prevention of pneumococcal (by penicillin prophylaxis and pneumococcal vaccination) and malaria infections, which are essential and needed throughout areas where sickle cell disease (SCD) is prevalent.

Aligning with the Ghana Ministry of Health’s 2010 Policy to implement newborn screening for SCD nationwide, the Centre for Global Child Health has partnered with Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) to implement a SCD newborn screening program at KBTH - Ghana’s largest public hospital.

The program is designed to identify SCD positive babies as early as possible and provide them with the treatment they need to reduce illness and death. The program is charting progress, collecting data on screening and treatment, and will serve as a model for other centres across sub-Saharan Africa.

Our partners and stakeholders include:

  • Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Ghana Health Service
  • Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana


  • Build capacity within KBTH to screen and treat all children with SCD
  • Screen approximately 11,000 newborns at KBTH each year, plus an additional 12,500 through community expansion in 2019-2020
  • Follow babies identified as SCD-positive through regular clinic visits at KBTH
  • Collect patient data and maintain a patient registry
  • Ensure all patients have access to medication and treatment
  • Apply learnings to inform newborn screening programs beyond the hospital

The project also leverages the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network to share learnings with the broader SCD community.

For more information about the projects please contact: globalchild.health@sickkids.ca.